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Solie's Saturday Morning Report

Special Sunday Edition

WCW SuperBrawl Report

Sting Returns!!!

comes to the aid of Hulk Hogan

JAMES BROWN DANCES AT SUPERBRAWL!!

endorses the Cat's coolness...uh...whatever

TAFKAPI Wins the Cruiserweight belt

Brian Knobbs Hardcore Champ Again

The Way I See It...

The Case for the REAL World Title
By Earl Oliver


Volume 5, Issue 549 - February 20, 2000
Editor's Note: I originally planned to go on vacation to Hawaii this week, and therefore was expecting not to publish a newsletter next Saturday. But those plans have changed, because of an unfortunate (but minor) fall, I am hobbling around with my left leg in a cast up to my calf (who would want to hobble around Hawaii on a cast..??:-0)

All of this emotional and physical turmoil put me into a philosophic mood so today's special edition contains my Superbrawl Report and also a little treastise that I hope some might find both amusing and profound.


WCW SuperBrawl Report

The free show for the half hour from 4:30 to 5 had the audio all out of synch so that if you were just listening you wouldn't notice but when you look at the screen you immediately figure the sound track is being translated from Japanese or something. Terry Funk calmly tells us he just doesn't like the Nature Boy... I missed Flair's interview I guess. Saw some of Jarrett's and Luger's. This event is happening about 25 miles from where I sit but I only went to one wrestling event at the Cow Palace and the sight lines were terible and...oh no! the sound is still screwed up as they start the program.

The most intiguing match I see on the card in front of me is the Booker (T) vs. Big T (Tony Norris/Ahmed Johnson) match for the right to the Harlem Heat trademark - but there are a few others that look promising - any match that features both the legendary Ric Flair and the legendary Terry Funk...

...and then there is this one - the Cruiserweight Title match between the unlegendary Lash LeRoux the Artist yatta, yatta...apparently we are going to have a permanent audio problem (boooo...)Paisley is interfering a lot in this match. She is very vocal at ringside as well. TAFKAPA is showing more then usual aggression tonight but LeRoux is very self aware so the competition is stiff. Paisley is now on the apron constantly for minutes. At the critical moment she holds her man sitting on the corner buckle while LeRoux throws himself on his own head in a failed frankensteiner. The Artist takes the title.

The Hardcore Title is on the line now as Bam Bam Bigalow and Brian Knobbs brawl right out of the ring and up the aisle to the concession area then back to the ring where a dumpster full of plunder sits and seemingly unlimited supplies of table ammunition for Bam Bam who is dominant until Fit Finley shows up and throws it entirely the opposite way. Knobbs is the Champ again.

Oh jeez...there are those unfortunate young morons, Three Count - mercifully, they decline to sing. This is their handicap match against Screamin' Norman, who was injured recently by the Wall. Bad ribs and all - he is all over these punks until one of them attacks his ribs - but he still comes back and hits a giant swing on one of them - from there it gets pretty messy as the rookies struggle to coordinate their assault and slowly win out. Smiley is put in a body vise after having his injured ribs pounded and taps out.

The Demon (Dale Torberg) drools something reddish from his mouth as he makes his entrance then they introduce the Wall who fails to appear. The Demon leaves the ring and goes looking for his missing opponent and gets ambushed in the entryway. Back in the ring, the Wall is covered in the bloody fluid issuing from the Demon's piehole but he is rockin' and rollin' for the first several exchanges. The Demon hangs in there and manages to get sporadic moments of offense but this monster just shrugs it all off and ends it with a chokeslam off the top rope that leaves nothing to the imagination.

Ernest Miller is promising James Brown again. Right...

Oh - there's that "Big Al" guy who is less interesting then Tank Abbott...they have a Flag...er...Skins match with a leather jacket in place of the flag, We've never seen Big Al in the ring before. Abbot came out in fighting gloves...and we notice that Al is wearing them as well. Big Al draws off his belt and cajoles Abbott into agreeing to tie their two right arms together! Big Al uses his superior size to win that contest of flailing left arms the first time the lays Tank in a corner and stands on his face! Abbott is really pissed off after that (duh...) He knocks the guy down, picks him up, climbs the corner with him slung over his shoulder then...drops him to the floor... He then climbs down and plants one last clubbing blow on the limp form of his opponent before climbing back up to grab the jacket.

Booker (w/o the "T") and his match for the rights to the Harlem Heat trademark against Tony Norris (w/Stevie Ray and J Biggs. Norris/Ahmed/Big T) Norris is known to be a stiff worker who tends to really injure his opponents. Stevie Ray provides distraction to give Big T the first offensive moves but he is slow moving and lethargic. Booker handles him easily through much of the match. Norris isn't only a stiff worker - he's just a plain stiff. Stevie has to run intereference for him to help him be effective at all. Bigs makes a valient attempt to interfere and gets unceremoniously ejected. Booker is about to wrap it up when...the lights go out. A new mysterious street thug appears in the place of Midnight when the lights come back up, Booker is crushed between them. The new guy joins the Harlem Heat corporation which now owns the trademrk free and clear, I guess.

Billy Kidman (I think he should call himself "Killer" Kidman and turn heel...) brings his sweety down with him to face the man with the devilish-skull-like face make-up, Vampiro. Vampiro uses a slight power game because he has a little size advantage in this one - but he also moves like a lightweight when he needs to. Kidman is talented but he doesn't have that Hart style charisma and polish of his opponent, nor his penchant for unusual surprise moves. Kidman just doesn't have the imagination to keep up with his opponent here. He hits some decent offense periodically throughout the match but is steadily being worn down until he executes a scorpion-death drop like maneuver from the top corner and takes the pin.

Terry Funk is back looking menacing but not saying much.

Next up...the Young and Deranged vs. the Marmalukes (Paisons, whatever...) in a Sicilian Stretcher match...whatever that is...Disco wheels in a wheelchair with a shiny trashcan, the contents of which we are not being apprised. There is a stretcher at ringside which will be used to move both losing team members out of the arena by the winners. Right away, Johnny the Bull is stretchered about 1/2 way up the aisle but Vito upsets the cart and Johnnie grogily returns tpo the frey. As usual, Crowbar is doing all the work while David lurks ringside. The latter is the next one stretchered but they barely get away from ringside before David is rescued by his partner - meanwhile, in the ring, Daffny has just put a major Frankensteiner on Johnny (what a surprise!!). Disco tries to interfere but Daffny sprays his eyes with something and he retreats. Crowbar/Devon Storm is a holy terror but opposition's superior teamwork and a spectacular twisting leg drop put on David by Johnny puts Flair back on the stretcher and tapes him to it! Davis is hauled away before Crowbar can recover from the earlier assault so he continues to fight on alone until Johhny whacks him repeatedly with a pipe and sets him up for a table shot. Crowbar is also taped to the stretcher then the two Eyetalians subdue the crazy lady and tie her to the wheelchair to haul her away.

Okerlund has been summoned to talk to Sid Vicious who vows that he will continue to rule the world, yatta, yatta...

Here comes the Cat, lookin' natty in black with a red silk scarf. I'm not sure what he is here for. Oh yeah, James Brown the plumber...or something. Yep...that's him! James Brown the plumber. Some clown in a blues singer's suit with an ermine cape and kingly crown. The Maestro shows up and the two of them have the damndest nonsensical conversation. I couldn't understand a thing the Maestro said but he said it with conviction... He snatched the rug off "James Brown's" head. Then the music started again, a phalanx of young dancers came out and formed a line for the REAL JAMES BROWN to come strolling through!!!!!!!! Apparently the Godfather of Soul is more than willing to endorse the Cat - damned his hide. He is really going to be insufferable now. Oh, the Maestro fainted when Brown appeared...

Now the build up begins and goes on for several minutes for the legends' match pitting Ric Flair against the Hardcore legend Terry Funk. This is a last man standing match (Texas Death Match rules) no DQ, no count-out match where falls only result in a 10 count. The man who can't bring himself to his feet within 10 seconds will lose this one. Flair is looking very serious tonight with a minimum of bombast but all his usual intensity. Funk is maniacal as ever. Again I notice that Flair is starting to pant very early on while Funk (who is several years older than Flair but also much more economical in his movements) hardly breaks a sweat. Funk does a lot of creative falling down and manages to get the first pinfall. Flair is up by the count of four and we are back in action again. Back in the ring, Flair chops Funk down from behind his knee then goes after a figure four. Funk taps out then is back up on the count of 6. Flair heads for the top (always a mistake with Flair) and gets hauled off and tossed to the floor! Funk follows him out and piledrives him on the floor mat. He gets a two count then exposes some concrete, brawls with him a moment then piledrives him on the bare concrete and gets the second pinfall. While the referee is counting, Funk fishes a tables out from under the ring and tosses it inside. Flair answers the 8 count while Funk sets up the table in the ring. Funk grabs a mic and asked Flair if he wants to quit. For answer, Flair lunges at him. Funk knocks him down again and hauls him to the table then steps up on it to get the piledriver, which destroys the table! On the two count, Funk pulls Flair's arm up to stop the count. He goes after yet another table and sets it up. He pauses and simply goes for a pin but Flair kicks out and ends up putting Funk through the table. This time, Funk fails to answer the ten count.

Michael Buffer takes the ring and they almost have the audio synched up now. He introduces the second legends' match (sort of, if you think about it) Lex Luger vs. Hulk Hogan. Of course we know that Luger has surprised us and beat Hogan in the past. But this match isn't really over any specific issue. These two have been bad-mouthing each other with no apparent motive for the last couple of weeks. Hogan has suffered a broken arm at Luger's hinds already and he has a cast to use as a weapon. He is trying to protray a strange amalgam of his two major characterizations - the good Hulk Hogan and the bad Hollywood Hogan. In truth, there has always been the bad and good sides of the Hulkster. He is always the one who will resort to an eye gouge or a bite to the forehead first in a match. That's his legacy of Freddie Blassie, who always managed Hogan's best opponents and actually had a lot to do with Hogan's early training. Hogan dominates the Package and the threatens to use his cast when Liz takes a swing at him and gets a glancing blow. Hogan recovers from Lugers immediate backjump and then Jimmy Hart shows up to confiscate Liz's bat. In the ring, Hogan is Hulking up even though he currently is on the offensive. He goes to remove his weight belt and turns his attention away from Luger and gets blindsided again. Hogan quickly recovers and delivers the old foot to the face to Leg drop maneuver znd gets the pin. Luger goes on the blindside attack one more time but then Sting runs in and cleans house. Sting and Hogan shake hands.

The second main event was the big No-DQ Three-Way-Dance for the WCW World Heavyweight Title featuring the Champion Sid against Jeff Jarrett against Scott Hall. Sounds great on paper. Jarrett has his bully boys handy so that definitely gives him an edge which could be sharedby Hall in some mysterious way I suppose - but Sid doesn't have any friends to count on. The two challengers are already at it in the ring when the Champion finally makes his appearance. He wades in and instantly faces two opponents but rather easily clears the ring. Moments later he goes down under the onslaught then Hall and Jarrett immediately get back into it. The referee gets elliminated and then Sid comes back with a big double clothesline and gets two counts on each of them. Nick Patrick runs in to take over the officiating, so Jarrett attacks him openly and lays him out. The Harrus Twins enter the ring and manage to hit their boss with a chair. Charles Robinson runs in to take over but Jarrett ejects him and also Micky Jay. Jarrett's pet referee shows up. Meanwhile Hall recovers and gets the Outsider's Edge on Jarrett but the stooge referee refuses to finsh the count. Moments later Jarrett lays Hall out with his guitar. Another referee is coming - it's Roddy Piper!!! He stops the stooge from finishng the count. Sid recovers and sets Hall up and delivers the powerbomb then gets the pin before Jarrett can crawl back in to stop him. Sid retains the big prize.



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The Way I See It...

The Case for theREAL World Title

By Earl Oliver

There is question in the mind of some about the legitimacy of the WCW World Heavyweight Title. Certain historians have, on these very pages, put forth an argument that somehow, the WWF Heavyweight Title is a true World's Title while the WCW is just some splinter group created when Ted Turner decided he wanted to buy a wrestling promotion. Others, myself included, would contend that the WCW Title has at least as much, and possibly more legitimacy than the WWF version.

The solution to this controversey, in my studied opinion, is that you always have to maintain the proposition that the REAL Champion himself is the most important link to the "REAL World Title", rather than the promotion per se.

Hear me out...

The first title listed in my Solie's Pro-Wrestling Title Histories is for the AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE which was established on March second of 1893 in New Orleans, LA, when Evan "Strangler" Lewis unified the Catch-as-Catch-Can Title and the American Greco-Roman Titles by defeating Ernest Roeber in a mixed match with Greco-Roman and Catch-as-Catch-Can styles in best of 5 falls. Due to the unification, the belts merged into what was from then on called the American Heavyweight Title.

Between March 3, 1903 and May 23, 1906, Frank Gotch and Tom Jenkins traded the American Title between them until the EUROPEAN GRECO-ROMAN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, "Russian Lion" George Hackenschmidt defeated American Champion Tom Jenkins on May 5, 1905 in New York, NY to be the first Undisputed World Champion...except that the Americans did dispute it, and didn't acknowledge that it had been a Unification Match - so to them, Tom Jenkins remained the American Champion and traded it back to Gotch again eighteen days later on March 23. Gotch then continued as the American Champion off and on for the rest of the year and on December 17th he defeated Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Hackenschmidt in a second Unification match, at which point he abandoned the American Title and claimed the World's Title as his own. This brought the REAL World's Title to the shores of the United States of America. Gotch was considered the "greatest wrestler in the world" by all parties, worldwide.

Between the 1840's and the 1940's, the American professional wrestling business, which had been born out of the carnival "AT (athletic) Shows" (where a traveling "Wrestling Champion" would take on the local farm boys), evolved into regional territorial promotions, several of which claimed to have a "World Heavyweight Title". The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) was one such promotion (but also an amalgam of several) in November of 1949 when they awarded Lou Thesz their "World Title" after the former Champ, Orville Brown had been injured in an automobile accident and was forced to vacate. Thesz was supposed to have a World Title match with Brown on the 25th, but Brown had to forfeit - so two days later, Thesz was awarded the Title.

Thesz was already the American Wrestling Association World Champion, having defeated Bill Longson on 07/20/48 in St. Louis and so he went on a quest to Unify all the "World Titles". He succeeded in winning the American Wrestling Association (AWA) World Heavyweight title (Boston), by defeating Gorgeous George {George Wagner} on 07/27/50 in Chicago, Illinois, United States and even the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium version of the World Title, by defeating Baron Michele Leone on 05/21/52. Thesz brought the REAL World Title to the NWA.

Thesz held the Unified World title until March of 1956 when he lost it for ten months to Whipper Billy Watson, then regained it and held it another year until November of 1957.

Thesz emerged from the pack again in January of 1963 when he defeated "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, but the Northeastern NWA promoters insisted that "their rules" provided that the title could not change hands in less then three falls - a stipulation which had never been a hard and fast rule in NWA promotions in general, but was in force in certain regional branches. The Northeastern NWA promoters, led by Vince McMahon, Sr. of Capital Wrestling, declared themselves the World Wide Wrestling Federation and awarded Rogers their WWWF Heavyweight Title. Thesz went on to continue as NWA World Champion for the next three years while Rogers lasted less than a month before surrendering his championship to Bruno Sammartino. The WWWF considered their title a World Title, but the rest of the business saw it as regional. In fact, the WWF rejoined the NWA in 1971 and officially reduced their title to a regional one and it wasn't until 1979, after Bob Backlund won the WWWF Title in 1978, that the McMahon promotion renamed itself the World Wrestling Federation and re-elevated their title to World Title status. That 8 year hiatus from the World Title picture substantially reduced the legitimacy of their claim to World Title status. Clearly, the REAL World Title remained with the NWA.

From the early 70's until 1981, Harley Race dominated the World Title picture, he was then succeeded by Ric Flair who wrestled the Title away for two years the first time, then lost it only to win it back in ten days. From that point Flair dominated the NWA World Title picture until Ted Turner bought the promotion he worked for and changed its name to World Championship Wrestling. Now you have to read this next carefully or you'll lose the thread my argument. Flair was the NWA Champion and also the new WCW World Champion. He lost the NWA World Title briefly in 1991 but regained it two months later and thus reunified the NWA/WCW Titles.

Flair muddied the waters when he jumped to the World Wrestling Federation in 1992 while still the reigning NWA/WCW Champion and brought the NWA World Title belt (which he owned) with him. He called himself "the REAL World Champion" - and he was! He had vacated the NWA World Title when he changed promotions. Back in Japan, a local promotion, calling itself the NWA, held a tournament and crowned Masahiro Chono as their Champion. In WCW, Lex Luger had a steel cage match with Barry Windham and was declared the WCW World Champion. This was only possible because Flair had vacated the titles...but he had not been beaten for either of them. This "Japanese World Championship" eventually came back to the US when Barry Windham defeated the Great Muta, then back into Ric Flair's hands in 1993 after he returned to WCW after losing the WWF Title in 1992.

So in 1993 there was a legitimate dispute about who the REAL World Champion was. Some would contend that Bret Hart, having defeated Ric Flair for the WWF Title, was the man. On the other hand, Flair would seem to have had a strong claim because he was never actually defeated for either the NWA or the WCW versions and now had regained even the "Japanese version". A year later, a legal entity calling itself the NWA held a tournament and Shane Douglas of a local Pennsylvania promotion called Eastern Championship Wrestling (later renamed to Extreme Championship Wrestling) won the tournament and was declared the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. But then he immediately threw that title away and elevated his own ECW Title to World Title status, a controversial move which henceforth clouded the legitimacy of the NWA Title. The legal entity then held a second tournament three months later and Chris Candido was declared their champion, but by then the greatly reduced NWA was no longer considered a major promotion by the wrestling industry. In later years, the revived NWA combined promotions would claim that their Heavyweight Title is the REAL World Title - but that claim is spurious in my view because none of their champions ever defeated Flair who retired what could arguably be called the REAL World Title when he jumped to the WWF in 1992 or Hart, who subsequently defeated Flair for the WWF version.

In my mind, the key to all of this is Flair, who was the last true, REAL World Heavyweight Champion, having held that distinction on and off for over 11 years and having never been defeated in the ring for that title.

In 1994, WCW World Champion Ric Flair came back and defeated the the WCW International Champion, Sting. The International Title was what WCW had renamed the Japanese version of the World Title when they split from the then defunct NWA organization in 1992. Thus Flair once again unified the WCW and NWA versions of the title and could again be arguably called the REAL World Champion.

In my mind, this suggests that the heirs to Ric Flair in WCW (including Flair himself) have the strongest claim to have been the REAL World Champion at the times of their reigns and therefore that makes Sid Vicious the current World champion with the most legitimate claim to be called the REAL World Champion.

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter



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